The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have

Standard

The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer

take-care-of-yourself

The longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, and for me, it also includes God. The way we treat people and our honesty and dishonesty is something that only we can reconcile. So many of us are hugely invested in our parents, our children, our friends and our neighbors and where this is quite noble, the truth is that the sustainable relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Friends come and go, family comes together and drifts apart, parents age and die and children grow up and go on their way.

The biggest investment made should be where it will have staying power and last, and that is within our own self. When we look to others for our value, whether it is an employer, a parent, a child, a friend or any other we have given way to letting everyone else determine our value.

As a child who was born as raised Catholic, I learned many wonderful life lessons. I learned to live by the golden rule and to treat other people the way that I wanted to be treated. I learned the value in living for the greater good and about service above self. I watched both Catholic Priests and Catholic Nuns put everyone else above themselves.

I learned to believe I was going to hell if I didn’t honor the Catholic code for living. It is only recently that I have discovered that if and when you put everyone else above yourself you have basically taught people how to treat you. You have taught them that you deserve to be last.

Life is a journey and not a destination, each one of us is evolving as we age, and as we learn and grow. Just like a flower that comes back year after year, where it may be the same type of flower it never returns looking exactly like it did in its previous bloom.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs     

When we are young we have no way to fully comprehend how our decisions will impact us later in life. Like the teenager who decides to become a teen mom, they can never fully understand that life altering choice until they age.

Parents fret over their teenagers and young adult decisions, because unlike the teenager and the young adult a mature adult has a better understand of poor choices. The choice to walk away and not take advantage opportunities in education and employment among other opportunities means much more to that same adult, now grown, who does not have the advantage of a college degree or work experience.

Decisions made in anger and in haste seldom stand up in the test of time. Whether our parents were great parents, mediocre parents or even terrible parents, they are the parents that God gave to us. Every single adult knows the impact of their childhood both good and bad and the importance of their roots and their home. Even in the most highly dysfunctional families, social workers and mental health care providers work to restore the health of the first family or neonatal family. They get it that the parental relationships will impact a child’s life for the rest of their life. And that is whether they remain in their lives or not. Parents are forever and so are their children.

Life is long

Most people state “life is short” or “life is so short” but it was my husband who first shared the statement, “life is long’ with me. Life is long and it feels even longer when as a young person you make life altering decisions that impact your life in a negative way, for the rest of your life.

One of the fastest growing populations of people is estranged parents and adult children. This week alone I received 6 e-mails from across the country and from both men and women, fathers and mothers who are estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. The pain and heartache is insurmountable and almost every single case has set the same cycle up for the next generation.

Statistically it has been proven that once this pattern of family estrangement begins, it plays itself, over and over again in future generations.

The Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, if needed you can find it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Group-for-Parents-of-Estranged-Adult-Children

I have heard from parents, who had social services involve themselves and when it was deemed it was a troubled teenager, the rift between parent and child was broken beyond repair. I heard from a father who was arrested after his teen daughter claimed abuse. It didn’t take long for the investigation to uncover that the teen was angry. She was angry with dad, because he took the car away from her. So she got him back by slamming herself up against the car, getting a bruise, calling police, saying dad did this and when they saw her redness and bruise, he was immediately arrested.

Now dad sees how dangerous and without boundaries, his daughter is and in his anger and hurt he doesn’t want the teen back in the home. The teen daughter is limited in her ability to function without her parents support. The stage is now set for years of estrangement. The social workers once there and involved are long gone as they have moved on helping truly abused children. This family is left with the destruction and the aftermath.

Try Not to Make Mistakes that You Can’t Recover From

It wasn’t until one of my later career jobs that I was applauded for making any mistakes. My supervisor always saw the value in lessoned learned and in the ability to try. According to him, if you made a mistake, at least you were trying. For the effort you were applauded then came the dialogue about what went wrong and how to make it better. Everything was viewed as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth and development.

Some mistakes can’t ever be repaired, nor can you ever come back from them. Murder and rape are not actions that once crossed can be repaired. Where we want to live in a world of second chances and of reform, there are actions that can be taken that you can never take back.

When you put your life in someone else’s hands and when you no longer have the power over your own destiny in life you have all but ended your relationship with yourself. No one is going to know what you like, need or want in life better than you do. Advice is great and often it is free and perhaps in being free that is what it is worth, nothing. People often have their own agenda and their own idea.

Coming from a place of strength and of self-love and acceptance and contributing to our own success and investing in our own self allows us to be fully developed mature adults. We can’t get our value or devalue ourselves by what other people do or don’t do.

As parents, maybe we need to do better and teach our children that the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you are not full-filled and you are angry, only you can do what is necessary to fix that inside of yourself.

Investing in our own self is not selfish but rather contributes to wellness and to the greater good. We all know that “hurt people, hurt people.” And most often when teens and young adults are lashing out at others, at their parents and at their friends, family and community, it is because they are hurt and troubled.

I can’t say it enough, the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship that you have with yourself. Invest in you, take care of you and do what is right. A pretty good measure for me has always been that if you wouldn’t want something done to you, you most probably shouldn’t be doing that same thing to someone else.

Peace, love and all good things …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Appreciation Doesn’t Coexist With Depression

Standard

Appreciation Doesn’t Coexist With Depression
By Bernadette A. Moyer

appreciation8

Our adult son is battling “severe depression” after his place of employment closed their doors, and he lost his job. One thing that stands out is how much his thinking has changed. Not that long ago he was happy and so appreciative. He appreciated everything. If you gave him a gift, even clothing he was thrilled with it. If you treated him to the movies or out to eat, he was happy and he was appreciative.

He respected and he appreciated his job too. It made him happy to have a place to go, to have connections to other people and of course to be earning his own money. He often worked 10-12 hour days in retail, he worked full time and he greeted customers and waited on them. He was very social there. When you watched him in motion you would see his joy. He was also doing this while being on the autism spectrum and no medications. He was active, always walking and going out to the gym to workout.

What stands out today is his lack of appreciation. And not just lacking it but his deep sense of entitlement. He is now like a walking encyclopedia on all the free programs that the government provides for people with disabilities even though he has been told by his doctor that he is “not disabled.” With the help of social workers he knows more about food stamps, rent vouchers, social security benefits, SSI, SSDI, form 500 and much more.

He says he wants to live “independently” when in reality he wants to live dependent on the government. Well intentioned social workers have put all kinds of ideas into his head. They did not know him when he was happy and productive and truly independent. They did not know him when he was appreciative and grateful.

The more he is handed the less he seems to appreciate and the more “depressed” he has become. The more he thinks he can get, the less he is interested in doing for himself. Today and with the team of his doctors and social service workers he is taking 9-different medications and 27 pills in a single day. He has gained more than 50 pounds in less than two months and while being hospitalized.

On so many levels it is so hard to witness such decline in someone who is so young. This entire experience that we have witnessed has made us see the connection between appreciation and gratitude and how they do not coexist with depression. Someone that is depressed is unable to appreciate what they have, they spend their time thinking about all the things they lost and all the things they don’t have. It also drives home for us the importance of how we think, how we all think.

If we can find things to appreciate and to be grateful for we can fight off depression. We can fight depression naturally with a gratitude journal or diary. We can fight depression with a gratitude jar. We can focus on all the things we already have rather than on what we don’t have.

There is no pill that will cure depression! There are many people that find relief in medication but pills won’t make a depressed person happy and they don’t take depression away. We can all be depressed if we want and yes I am aware that we are all wired differently. Some people are pre-disposed to depression. Sometimes it runs in the family genetic make-up. Sometimes changing how we think actually changes our brain chemistry. Like a car that isn’t wired properly and won’t start and run, a person who isn’t properly wired won’t start and run either.

We always knew our son was on the autism spectrum, and we take great pride in knowing that we parented an autistic child that made national honor roll and achieved Eagle Scout. He worked hard and so did we in our support of him. He made it into the United States Navy and he held down a full time job for over three and a half years all the while that we supported him and encouraged him and rooted for his success. He was so grateful. He was so creative and he was interested in other people and less self-absorbed.

When we love someone, anyone it is hard to witness them being on the decline, destructive and making poor choices. It is hard to watch someone, anyone with so much life ahead of them spiral so far downward when all you want to do is pick them up and help them and yet you know there is really nothing that you can do. You have done all that you can do. This is his journey and not ours.

The biggest takeaway for us is that with appreciation and with gratitude, depression is far less likely to take root and stick around. A happy person is a productive person and a thankful person.

Today and every day we pray for people with mental illness and that they may find the strength, and the desire to pull themselves up and find gratitude for all that they do have rather than focusing on what they may have lost …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

The Process

Standard

The Process
By Bernadette A. Moyer

process

We give so little credit to “the process” as we tend to think more about the end result. However the more life experience that I attain I tend to give more and more attention and respect for “the process.”

Our most thoughtful and best decisions are often derived as we complete the process. We learn about what we like and what we dislike we learn about what fits and feels right for us. I used to give all the credit to the end result to success to coming to the conclusion and completion but now I am giving so much more credit for the process that we go through until we arrive at our destination.

What advice would I give to my 20 year old self?

“Don’t be in such a hurry, stop, reflect and thoroughly enjoy the process!”

As someone who was always a high achiever I was always completely focused on the end result, looking back I can see where I rushed through much and could have enjoyed more with a better understanding of the value that is held in the process.

process2

It doesn’t matter if they are personal goals or professional goals, some much is attained when we take the time to not only go through “the process” but revel in it. I have also come to know that my best responses may not be my first responses but the ones where I took the time to reflect on all sides and took the time to process as much information as I could so that I could then arrive at the very best decisions.

Gathering information and educating ourselves should not be rushed but should be treated with respect and understanding as to the value of allowing for the process to unfold and the answers to revealing themselves.

So here is to placing more value and time and attention on “the process” …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Our Shared Journey

Standard

Our Shared Journey
By Bernadette A. Sahm

brandon.png

We are all more alike than not and all of us are on a shared journey. Most of us are looking for love to give love and to receive love. Some of us express our love through the work that we do and some of us in our friends and family circle. Our stories are important as are sharing them. This is how we connect with others.

Today we celebrated with our son on his 24th birthday, his father shared stories of what it was like and what transpired up until his birth and the weeks that followed. Along with his twin sister he stayed in the hospital for weeks after his birth and was unable to leave the hospital until late February after a January birthday, his twin was not released until March. I wasn’t there as I met the twins when they were already 87 days old.

The stories that my husband is able to share are both heart- warming and deeply saddening. His wife and the twin’s birth mother went into comma just days after having the twins and she never regained consciousness again. She died.

They were a young couple with a new mortgage, two career jobs and twins on the way. It was the American dream that soon turned into a living nightmare. The soul and character of my husband as he treaded these unknown waters was both concerning for his family and others and inspiring for the people that lived through it with him. His spirit and deep belief in God carried him through it all.

We delight in Brandon’s birthday and are mindful of the many challenges that he has faced since his pre-mature birth. Every single person has a story; some of us have shared experiences. The stories that my husband has to share during that time frame are so close to the heart. Now 24 years later it is still impossible to understand how a 29 year old married woman could go to the hospital to deliver her babies and how she would literally never walk out of that place again.

“When the pursuit of natural harmony is a shared journey, great heights can be attained. – Lynn Hill”

We also can’t imagine our lives being any other way as I have been their “mother” since their infancy. How and why things happen like they do may never be fully understood except that we have a deep faith in God and know that we are all here together and on a shared journey.

Who knows what each day may bring? Will it bring us happiness or heartache? Everyone is looking for something? Something that will help with the meaning of life and we want to know what will come next and what will happen. We are seeking to understand. We are looking to uncover all that we think and feel that we need to feel full.

I didn’t find genuine love and I didn’t find genuine peace until I stopped looking for it? Funny as it may seem that is what happened. When I just loved my life and was doing what I knew that I should be doing all the other things I was searching for and seeking just naturally made their way to me.

Our history and our family stories are so important as they help us to understand who we are and how we came about and just where we come from when our lives began.

So many people think that they need this thing or that job or that relationship or something else before they can be fulfilled and happy. Yet wisdom is born of age and we learn that much of what happens in life literally is beyond our control. We take what we get and hopefully we make the most of it. Take the lessons and leave the rest behind as we proceed on our shared journey called life …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble under author Bernadette A. Moyer

Original artwork attached by Brandon R. Sahm (my son)